Entries tagged with “Ariel”.


This week we hear from Morgan Springsteen, who is currently acting in The Tempest.

As is always true in life, for everything there must be a beginning, for each path a starting point.  My interest in theatre stretches back as far as I can remember.  However, I remember distinctly the first time I stepped onto a stage and decided, almost instantaneously, that acting was my passion.  This production of The Tempest marks another first for me.  This is my first time acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays.  It is an experience unlike anything I have ever had in many ways, some which I have found challenging, all of which I have found exciting.

Working with Pigeon Creek requires a level of self-management that I had not yet experienced working in educational theatre at Grand Valley.  A major reason for this is that this show was ensemble directed.  Ultimately, what we as actors choose to put on the stage is our choice.  However, we are dependent on the cast as a whole to make sure that everything looks cohesive and makes sense.  In order to be a functional and effective cog in the machine, you must be willing to take constructive criticism you’re your peers and not be afraid to give it out.  As a novice to Shakespearean acting, it was difficult at first to pipe up and give direction.  However, as my understanding of the process grew, so too did my confidence.

Another thing that sets this experience apart is that I am playing multiple small roles, on top of understudying the role of Ariel.  Trying to flesh out the characters of a salty mouthed sailor (the Boatswain), an eager and optimistic lord in the company of the king (Adrian), and a rainbow goddess at the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda (Iris) requires a keen sense of contrast.  It has been fun finding the nuances of each character and discovering what makes each one stand out from the others.

On top of these three parts, it has been an added challenge to keep track and learn all of the things Ariel is in charge of throughout the play.  I am still working to find the balance between following the character Kate has fleshed out and still allowing room for my own interpretation.  I am excited to tackle the role in a few weeks when we head to Toledo, and I only hope my performance lives up to Kate’s.

This truly has been a hugely valuable experience.  I’m sure I will find myself comparing this production with new theatre experiences as they come along.  I am so glad I got to work with this amazing group of people and put together a show that I not only feel much attached to, but extremely proud of.

This week, Kathleen Bode discusses playing Ariel in The Tempest.

For me, this week has been full of two thing; pushing my boundaries as an actor, and ibuprofen.

Ariel, much like Prospero, tells stories. The story of how the ship sank, the story of how he/she lead this group of people around the island, etc. But the way that Ariel tells stories needed to be very different from the way that Prospero tells them.

So I started with the fact that Ariel is a non-human character. So, how do you convey that to an audience? I needed to make it clear, visually, to the audience that Ariel is “other wordly”. There has to be a real distinction between how Ariel moves compared to how the human characters move.  Movement is not my forte, so I met with Katherine Mayberry (our producer) for some help with this. With her extensive dance training, Katherine would be able to help me better use my body to develop and present my character.

We started with some image work. I did some online research of animals, and brought a dozen or so pictures of different images that I found. Each of these images struck me, for different reasons, as ways that I could see Ariel. What surprised me most was that they were not all animals that fly. I started my research with birds, but only about half of the images I chose ended up being avian.

Once I had my images, Katherine had me replicate with my body each of the pictures I had chosen. From there, I began to use that image to produce a movement. How would an Arctic Skua move around the room? How about a Black Skimmer?

No one wants to feel like an idiot, and I was afraid of looking like one while doing these movement exercises, but I realized that if I didn’t make these choices big, bold – and confidently – then they would never read to an audience. They would look foolish because the audience would know that I felt foolish. But, using these images to create distinct and precise movements helped me to really embrace the sense of freedom that I found allowing myself to move in ways that are wholly unfamiliar to me. I found myself enjoying that freedom to move any (and every) part of my body.

Getting out of bed the next morning was a bit more challenging than usual for me. Having never been an athlete or dancer, my body was not used to those kinds of movement, and I had to pack a bottle of Ibuprofen along with my lunch that day!